Swiss Army Man
- 1h 35min
- Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
- 1 July 2016
- Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
- Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body, and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.
Swiss Army Man, co-written and co-directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (who go by "the Daniels"), is a bizarre and engaging tale about Hank (played by Paul Dano), a suicidal man marooned on an island who finds the corpse of a dead man on the beach (played by Daniel Radcliffe). Hank soon finds that his new friend, whom he names Manny, has the ability to talk and possesses unusual superpowers.
This is the fourth film to receive the Dolby Institute Fellowship. "We picked it because we were so taken by the Daniels' vision," said Dolby Institute director Glenn Kiser. "Swiss Army Man is simply unlike anything we'd ever seen before, and we realized right away that since the movie takes place largely in Hank's mind, it provided some amazing opportunities for subjective sound and a very creative Dolby Atmos mix."
"Sound is definitely a part of our writing process. We pitch movies with sound," said Daniel Kwan. "When we have an idea, we always end up standing up and making the sound effects of it — just because rhythm is so important to us, and then we both make the same sound at the same time by accident, and that's when we know our brains are connected, and that's kind of like our shorthand."
There's a lot of action moments in this, and you think, 'Oh, man, action! I'm going to put explosions here! I'm going to put zip-bys here! It's just going to be crazy!' But what we found out to be really amazing is the subtle moments is what [Dolby] Atmos really shines in.
BRENT KISER, SOUND SUPERVISOR/RERECORDING MIXER, SWISS ARMY MAN
Music is a huge emotional driver of the film, and the Dolby Atmos format gave first-time film composers Andy Hull and Robert McDowell — of the indie band Manchester Orchestra — the freedom to place the musical score, comprised almost entirely of voices (including Dano's and Radcliffe's), around the action onscreen in a completely immersive and captivating way. (Check out the music video for the film's song, "Montage." )
Sound designer and rerecording mixer Brent Kiser, a longtime collaborator on the Daniels' short-form pieces, joined Academy Award® nominated mixer Beau Borders to construct the film's elaborate track, including some 16 tracks of premixed fart sounds, for reasons that become obvious when you watch the film.
"I will say the great thing about [Dolby] Atmos for this film in particular is we always try to make things that are very visceral and just take you on an experience and kind of push you through it really quickly, too fast, so logic doesn't even really get to become a part of the equation," said Daniel Kwan. "Being able to use sound to push that even further, it kind of reaches this really great fever pitch, and I'm just really excited because I think it's going to explode some brains in a really great way."